Each year, we move further into the customer experience driven era. Flexible and scalable CRM systems have never been more critical to business growth. In this blog, we look at the common challenges facing Salesforce users, and how they can get the most out of the platform.
What stops Salesforce customers from unlocking the full potential of their Salesforce platform?
In our experience, we have recognised two main challenges that prevent Salesforce users from getting the most out of their platform: increased operational expenses and difficulty proving ROI. Under these two main topics we have seen some common user mistakes:
Over customised implementation
Customers ask for changes to the product functionality to meet their ongoing business requirements and, during the process, suggest a lot of customisation to the product, often negating the benefits of the standard CRM product implementation.
This results in:
The more customisation requested, the more time-consuming and expensive the project delivery.
The benefits of the "out-of-the-box" functionality of the product are lost.
Increase in maintenance costs as the customisation needs to be revisited after every product update or upgrade.
Low adoption across the business
You need the people in your company to be willing to adopt a new system. Many employees may see only incremental benefits if there is not company-wide implementation and adoption of the platform.
Low adoption also means that employees across the business may still be using manual, prone-to-error processes to fill the gaps - this results in efficiency losses, lengthy processes and reporting inaccuracies, which in turn makes it even harder to build on any innovation and efficiency achieved from the existing platform roll-out.
Lack of overall strategy
Users often say that the Salesforce platform does not meet their needs. Often, the actual problem is that IT is not aligned with the needs of the business - their focus is on the efficiency of the platform - not business value.
Companies are guided by the over arching business strategy and objectives. If these are not mirrored in the IT's platform strategy, there is a danger not only of hindering the deployment and progress of projects, but also creating disruption in the business. This can result in misplaced effort and resources, reaping little to no benefit in terms of efficiency or ROI.
We recommend nominating a person/team to drive platform strategy (one that aligns IT efficiency and business value with your company’s vision and goals) and define the right metrics, resources, tools, and dependencies.
Lack of governance
Without governance, it's very easy to loose sight of goals, priorities, timelines etc. There is also the risk of having ad hoc developments and customisations from 'unqualified' users, making it increasingly difficult to keep track of what is happening with the platform across the business.
Following on from our last point – as well as a well-defined platform implementation strategy, there should also be a consideration for long-term governance of the Salesforce platform. This governance should focus on best practice, data security, access management, as well as proper documentation and policies to ensure optimum use of the platform across the business.
With most companies still having to deal with numerous legacy systems and siloed data, integration is key for an effective CRM strategy. When businesses don't integrate their data, they lose out on the main benefit of using the Salesforce platform - the ‘unified customer view’. Without this 360° visibility – they will not be able to effectively improve their customer experience.
When all data is fully integrated, it can be used to personalise communication, develop more appealing products and services, and track customer interactions throughout the customer lifecycle in one place. Businesses can use Salesforce to create a transparent data funnel across departments (marketing, sales, customer service, etc.). They can also use analytics to derive valuable business insights.
How can users improve ROI?
The above recommendations look at the best practice to get your Salesforce platform up and running. The ones below are looking specifically at how you can improve ROI:
Minimise operational cost - run your Salesforce implementation more efficiently. Have an expert evaluate your overall architecture strategy to ensure you’re receiving the maximum value.
Gain business insights and better data - get data-driven customer insights to inform your business decisions. When all your business information is stored and managed in one place, you gain a holistic view of your customer, and you can sell smarter, service faster, and market easier.
Achieve ROI faster - minimise deployment costs and become operationally faster. Create a more consistent release for your implementation by designing an efficient sandbox environment.
5 things to remember if you're at the start of the Salesforce trail
If you have just arrived at basecamp and are ready to begin the trail with Salesforce, these are five things to remember before you set off:
Identify implementation strategies and deployment options
Integrate with core systems
Optimise processes & customer engagements
Align with industry best practices
Use analytics to unlock critical business insights
Could a consulting partner speed up the process?
When looking at the above recommendations it seems there is a lot of work between getting Salesforce and starting to see ROI - especially for larger, more complex implementations. Below are some of the ways an experienced Salesforce partner could help:
Defining goals and metrics for project success;
Identifying which teams and business processes will be impacted;
Identifying and engaging stakeholders for each team/business process;
Starting to define your long-term vision for Salesforce.
If you would like to find out how to successfully implement your Salesforce platform and see improved ROI, we can help, give us a call on +44 (0)203 475 7980 or email us at Salesforce@coforge.com